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28 Jun 2005 : Column 1465W—continued

Counterfeit Medicines

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what strategy is being pursued by the Chief Pharmacist in combating the counterfeiting of (a) medical and (b) veterinary pharmaceutical products in Northern Ireland [7137]

Mr. Woodward: The Department's Pharmaceutical Inspectorate, under the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, investigates all reports of manufacture and sale of illegal human and veterinary medicines including counterfeit products.

The Inspectorate conducts routine and ad-hoc announced" and unannounced" inspections of manufacturers and wholesale dealers of medicinal products to assess compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Good Distribution Practice (GDP).
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This work is undertaken on behalf of, and in liaison with, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). In addition, there is a regular programme of inspection of pharmacies and of registered agricultural merchants and saddlers for compliance with relevant legislation and current good practice.

The Department seeks to create public awareness through publicising criminal convictions and notable seizures of illegal and counterfeit products, which are considered to pose a significant threat to public health.

The Inspectorate undertakes regular training in counterfeit medicines detection methods and techniques in co-operation with the MHRA who also provide analytical services in relation to enforcement cases. There are also good collaborative links with international drug regulatory authorities and, more locally, the Inspectorate works closely with the Irish Medicines Board in relation to human medicines and with the Irish Department of Agriculture and Food (DAF) for veterinary medicines in the conduct of joint-investigations, exchange of experience and the sharing of intelligence.

Departmental Budget

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the reasons are for the differences between the figures for Northern Ireland Departmental Administration Costs Limits for 2005–06 published as Table 4 of his Priorities and Budget document 2005 to 2008 and the figures for departmental net administration costs for the same year published in the Northern Ireland Estimates 2005–06. [6984]

Angela E. Smith: The following table reconciles the figures within individual Departmental Estimates and the departmental totals within Table 4 of the Priorities and Budget document:
£ million
Total departmental admin costs per estimates booklet1,105.3
Less notional charges-72.1
Pension changes-23.4
Admin receipts-99.1
AME costs-7.5
Admin costs per Table 4, Priorities and Budget Document(42)903.2

(42)Figure for departments only—excludes the £6.8 million miscellaneous adjustment
Explanations for the reconciling items are as follows:
1.Notional charges—The estimates include notional charges, which are non-budget" items and thus do not appear in the Budget figurework.
2.Pension changes—In late December 2004, HM Treasury provided details of changes required to Northern Ireland budgets as a result of a change in methodology for determining employers' contribution rates for the Civil Service Pension Scheme and the Teacher's Pension Scheme. These changes were not available at the time of publication of the Priorities and Budget document, but have been included in the estimates document.
3.Admin receipts—The departmental administration figures in column 1 of the estimates are on a gross basis, with any associated receipts being included in the Accruing Resources figures in column 5. The administration cost limits in the Priorities and Budget are presented on a net basis after allowing for any associated administration receipts.
4.AME—The administrative element of Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) is included in the Estimates, but not included in Table 4 of the Priorities and Budget, which focuses on the Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL).

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Education Strike

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to avert strike action by teachers, classroom assistants and other education personnel in Northern Ireland. [5555]

Angela E. Smith: I met with schools, boards, political parties and the NI Committee of the Irish Congress of Trades Unions to discuss their concerns with regard to education funding in Northern Ireland. As a result of these meetings, strike action has been suspended by the Unions. I announced additional resources of £12.5 million for education of which £3.5 million will go to address pressures in special education, £2.5 million to improve the nutritional standards of school meals and £2.5 million to schools' maintenance. I have also made £4 million available to help the boards develop shared services and re-shape the schools' estate in line with falling pupil numbers. Savings in these areas will release valuable resources for front-line services in schools.

EU Funding (North Belfast)

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what EU funds from (a) mainstream funds and (b) special programmes and initiatives have been allocated to North Belfast in each year since 1997. [4385]

Angela E. Smith: The amount of money from mainstream EU programmes and special programmes and initiatives allocated 1 to North Belfast since 1997 was as follows:


(a) Mainstream EU programmes(43)(b) Special programmes and initiatives(44)

(43)The EU programmes included in this category are the 1994–99 single programme document and the 2000–06 programme for building sustainable prosperity.
(44)The EU programmes included in this category are Peace I 1995–99, Peace II 2000–06 and the Community Initiatives Urban I, SMEs, Employment and Adapt for the period 1994–99 and Urban II, Equal and Interreg IIIA for the funding period 2000–06.

A list of projects and grants awarded under the current round of EU funding 2000–06 extracted from the EU structural funds database has been placed in the Library.
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EU Peace Funds

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to ensure that communities from a Protestant and Unionist background receive a fair share of EU Peace funds. [7100]

Angela E. Smith: No shares of EU PEACE funds are set aside for either community. Recent research shows that both communities are deriving substantial benefit with Protestant share estimated at 48.6 per cent. and Catholic share estimated at 51.4 per cent. This research has also shown that Protestants are less likely to apply and every effort will be made to encourage applications from that community. Actions will include:

Fuel Poverty

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the number of deaths attributable to fuel poverty in 2004–05; and if he will make a statement. [7635]

Mr. Hanson: There is no estimate available for the number of deaths attributable to fuel poverty. It is estimated that the average number of deaths, due to cardiovascular and respiratory causes, where low climatic temperature was a factor was approximately 2,050 per annum in the period 1980–2001. These deaths occurred in all seasons of the year and to people of all ages. They are not necessarily attributable to low home temperatures nor can they be attributed directly to fuel poverty. There has been a general decline in death from cardiovascular and respiratory causes, and it is estimated that a comparable figure for 2003–04 would be approximately 1,020.

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